In my years of preaching one of the most difficult problems to deal with is that of indecision. In fact I believe anyone who has spent times trying to teach the word of God to a lost or erring soul knows what I am talking about. The teacher, with all sincerity and love, presents the truth to the best of his/her ability. Now, the person taught is asked to make a decision. So, the teacher pleads with the one lost to purify his/her soul and obey the truth 1.Pet.1:22-23; Jn.3:3-5, or be restored 1.Jn.1:7-10, into a saving relation with Jesus Christ 1.Pet.1:22-23; Jn.3:3-5; Mk.16:16.
But, the one taught says, “At this time I am undecided, I just can’t make up my mind.” So, because of indecision, obedience is delayed until a future time, or in many cases never done.
I can only imagine how discouraged Paul felt when he heard Felix’s response after he had reasoned with him about “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come.” Even though Felix trembled at the preaching he fell prey to the deadly danger of indecision. He replies to Paul, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient season I will call for you” Acts 24:25.
In Elijah’s encounter with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel in 1.Kgs.18 we see how the deadly danger of indecision affected Israel. Israel had turned away from Jehovah to serve idols. Elijah opposed this, and as a result, was accused by King Ahab of being “a troubler of Israel.” Elijah replied, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baal’s” v.18. Ahab then gathered the prophets of Baal to meet Elijah on Mt. Carmel. Elijah challenged the people, “…How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. But the people answered him not a word” v.21. They could not make up their minds what to do. They were undecided.
This brings me to the point of my lesson. The danger of indecision leads to the danger of delay, which will be fatal if not corrected in time. If you are standing today in the valley of indecision about becoming a Christian, or after having obeyed, you are now drifting back into the world, you are on very dangerous ground Heb.2:1-3. Let me issue the challenge of the prophet of old. “How long will you falter between two opinions?” If Jesus is the Savior then obey Him Lk.6:46; Heb.5:9. At the present time you are partly for God and partly against Him. You are divided in your allegiance. You have divided affections Jas.1:8. You may not intend to be against Christianity, but with your indecision you are. You may claim you believe Jesus is the Savior and the Son of God, but if you haven’t obeyed Him, Mk.16:16 or are forsaking Him Lk.9:62, you are lost. No matter what you may say or think, your wavering indecision means you are against Him. Jesus said “He that is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” Matt.12:30. You are either for the Lord, obedient and active in His service, or you are against Him. There is no neutral ground, God and Jesus demand first place in our hearts or none at all Matt.22:37; 6:33.
One may say, “I am a good person. I don’t act like a wicked sinner. I live better that some others who claim to be Christians.” But how of a recommendation is that to God? No matter how good you are, or how good I am, none of us are good enough to be saved unless we become, and afterward live like a Christian. If salvation is based on goodness, then none of us can be saved. Period! “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Rom.3:23.
Think about this. Even if you are a good person, but not faithfully serving the Lord as a member of His body (the church) Col.1:18, where is your influence? By your indecision about serving you are a worse enemy to the cause of Christ than the out and out wicked sinner. Why, because of your influence. The community knows the ungodly man and has little respect for him or his opinions. But, you, being a person of good character, but not really living as a Christian should, is seen as a respectable citizen and others (whether you are aware of it or not) are following your lead in delaying obedience or commitment to Christ. Your indecision has an influence on them since they are following your life.
You might say, “But by becoming a Christian, or recommitting myself to Christ, will not make me a better person.” That is a purely human view. Salvation is offered on the basis of accepting Christ and complying with His commands, not on moral goodness. No matter how good you think you are there is sin in your life that needs forgiveness and the only way to obtain forgiveness is through the atoning blood of Jesus’ blood 1.Pet.1:19; Eph.1:7; 1.Jn.2:2. To be saved you must obey. Jesus alone saves those who obey Him Heb.5:9 and continue in the faith Col.1:23. Obedience to the gospel is not designed to make you a better person (though it will), it is designed to give you forgiveness of sins, and the incentive to be made into the image of Christ Rom.8:29-30, so you may one day be glorified before the throne of God. Remember when Naaman came to Elisha to be cured of leprosy, he was eventually cured, but not until he obeyed Elisha’s command. Dipping in the river Jordan didn’t make Naaman a better man. He was a good man before he came to be healed and the cleansing of leprosy did not affect his moral standing. But, he would have remained a good man with leprosy if he had not done as he was commanded to do. One must believe and be baptized to be saved Mk.16:16; Acts 2:38. Obeying these conditions will not change the nature of man, but does make one a Christian. The reformation of life (fruits of repentance) comes after 2.Pet.1:5-11.
Not only will indecision cause you to be lost for eternity, it has many side effects in this life. Indecision is a waste of energy. Have you ever got up some morning without any definite plans? There are several things to do, so you say I will do this, – no, I will do this, and I think I will do this, and by the end of the day you really have accomplished nothing, You started with indecision and ended with inactivity.
This inactivity leads to another danger, that of wrong action. Pilate’s indecisiveness about the innocence of Jesus finally led him to wash his hands and condemn Jesus to be crucified. His lack of courage to do right caused him to do wrong. So, indecision leads one not only to inactivity, then wrong action which soils one’s character, it can also eventually result in the wrong destiny. Indecision can eventually lead you so far away from God that you will find it impossible in your heart to have the courage to become a Christian, or if an erring Christian, to be restored. In that condition you will be lost forever.
Think seriously about the danger of indecision.